The Fever King by Victoria Lee
An alternate world where magic is real, but at a heavy price. Here magic comes as a sickness — a plague. Those lucky enough to survive gain marvelous abilities. The rest — in the millions — die a miserable death. The story is set in a future United States, now split into independent nation-states. The main character, Noam, is a son of refugees. He and his people live in squalor — pushed into crowded slums, hated by the native-born citizens, unable to find reasonable work because of their illegal status.
When Noam survives the magic virus, he has a chance to move up in the world. He becomes a technopath — one who can control technology through magic. He is taken under the wing of a powerful — legendary even — leader. Noam is also thrust into intrigue and politics. We, the readers, see that he is surrounded by lies and deception. Noam, however, takes some time to discover this.
Noam’s love interest, another boy in his training program, is a mysterious young man with secrets of his own. Noam is torn between the clear attraction he feels and his suspicion of the other boy’s motives. The emotions here are intense and we are taken along for the ride of this tumultuous romance.
As I said, the reader can see that Noam is heading for a surprise. This novel, however, is a long one (more than 250,000 words) and so takes some time delivering. It drags a bit near the middle. I found myself wishing that the author would just get on with it and reveal the damn conspiracy already.
There is a lot of ground to cover, though. This novel lays out a world rich in detail and ominous in possibility. It is so much like our own world — xenophobia, classism, nationalism — that it’s easy to step into the universe of the novel. All around, this is an exciting story set in a unique and interesting setting.
- Rating: 4.75 stars
- Length: 250,000 words
- Sex: it’s in there
- Violence: more than a little
- Drugs: much alcohol use
- Continued in The Electric Heir